HOWELL, N.J. – According to a media release issued late Sunday night, the Howell Police Department confirmed that officers responded to Howell Ice World earlier that afternoon in reference to a dispute that occurred between parents and referees officiating a high school hockey game between Manalapan and Howell.
According to the release, which was issued by Howell Police Sergeant Scott Revilak, upon arrival investigating officers “learned that a hockey game took place at this location and a dispute between parents and referees occurred. The dispute started during the game. Following the game, one parent approached two referees regarding the dispute. At this time a physical altercation began and a forth subject became involved in the altercation.”
The media release also elaborated on the injuries suffered by those parties involved, though no details on what subjects were afflicted with which injuries were given, stating “The four subjects involved in the physical altercation sustained minor visible injuries (This included red marks and bruising to facial area, bloodshot eyes, bruised hand) and complaints of pain.”
The media release also said that “two of the involved subjects refused medical attention and the other two subjects were transported to Jersey Shore Medical Center.”
Prior to issuing the media release, Howell police said two people went into the referees’ locker room after the tied game ended and started to fight two referees.
Referee Dave Brown, the 45-year old president of the New York-New Jersey chapter of the National Ice Hockey Officials Association, confirmed Sunday night that he was one of two referees attacked following the game, but declined to talk further, saying the incident was under investigation.
Brad Gardner, Manalapan’s hockey coach, said he came out of a locker room after the game and saw the rink’s lobby full of parents and police.
The game had ended in a contentious tie after one of his players, Rob Colligan, was checked from behind and collided headfirst into the side of the rink, Gardner said. Colligan was knocked unconscious, he added.
Play was stopped while the team waited for an ambulance, but tensions continued to mount between players, parents and referees, Gardner said. Before the game ended, multiple players were given game misconducts and removed, he added.
Following the incident, Gardner confirmed that the injuriy suffered by Colligan, a senior captain of the Braves, was a neck sprain and thankfully nothing more serious.
Mike Celano, president of the Shore Conference Ice Hockey Coach’s Association, confirmed that an incident took place at the rink and that Brown was one of two taken to the hospital.
Athletic directors at both high schools could not be reached by phone Sunday night, and did not immediately respond by email.
Howell police are still investigating.